Two former TV reporters are facing felony charges after their breastfed 4-month-old baby was found with cocaine in her system, authorities in Arizona say.
Somchai Lisaius, 42, and Krystin Sorich Lisaius, 26, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of possession of a dangerous drug, drug paraphernalia and child abuse following the May 15 incident just north of Tucson.
Authorities say Krystin admitted to breastfeeding her baby about 12 hours after allegedly snorting cocaine with her husband and a friend in their Oro Valley home. She thought the stimulant would be out of her body by then, according to a police report that Tucson News Now obtained.
The new mom said the child appeared extremely lethargic and difficult to keep awake about a half an hour after the feeding.
They took the child to a nearby hospital where police say the parents refused to allow a blood examination. The couple took the baby to a second hospital where they again refused the test. A urine analysis was eventually conducted that revealed the dangerous substance, authorities say.
The pair initially denied cocaine use as well as having any knowledge of how the child was exposed, reported Tucson Weekly, citing the police report.
They later confessed to having snorted the drug. Police searched their home and uncovered a little less than 2 grams of white powder that tested positive for cocaine. Somchai confessed to using cocaine every six weeks or so, police allege.
Child protective services took the baby and gave the child to her grandmother to care for, Tucson News Now reported.
The couple’s attorney put their behavior down to a brief lapse in judgment.
"It would be a gross, gross, gross injustice if even the mention of prison time [is made]," Michael Piccarreta told an Arizona Star reporter outside of a courtroom Monday. "I anticipate they will demonstrate that they have learned a very hard, embarrassing lesson and that this will become a footnote in their life, not a chapter."
Piccarreta said the child's mother is permitted to have 24/7 contact with her daughter, while the father has been permitted 12 hours per day.
Somchai was a reporter at Tucson News Now before the incident. Krystin previously worked for nearby KGUN 9 News and earlier competed in the 2013 Miss Arizona USA pageant.